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Igor’s tip of the week #25: Disassembly options

By default IDA’s disassembly listing shows the most essential information: disassembled instructions with operands, comments, labels. However, the layout of this information can be tuned, as well as additional information added. This can be done via the Disassembly Options tab available via Options > General… menu (or AltO, G).

Text and Graph views options

If you open the options dialog in graph mode, you should have something like the following:

And if you do it in text mode (use Space to switch), it will be different:

As you may notice, some options are annotated with (graph) or (non-graph), denoting the fact that IDA keeps two sets of options for different modes of disassembly. To make the graphs look nicer, the defaults are tuned so that the nodes are relatively narrow, while the text mode can use the full width of the window and is spaced out more. However, you can still tweak the options of either mode to your preference and even save them as a named or default desktop layout.

Line prefixes

One example of a setting which is different in text and graph modes is “Line prefixes” (enabled in text mode, disabled in graph mode). Prefix is the initial part of the disassembly line which indicates its address (e.g. .text:00416280). For example, you can enable it in the graph too or disable display of the segment name to save space.

Or you can show offsets from start of the function instead of full addresses:

This can be convenient because you always know which function you’re currently analyzing.

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